Can William Byron be stopped?
The HMS upstart has won the last two NASCAR races to vault into a tie as second choice on the Cup Series odds with Kyle Larson.
Oddly enough, Byron also finds himself tied with Larson in the short-term, as they're the favorites for Sunday, March 19th's Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
We preview the field with the NASCAR odds, and break down your best wagers for Atlants with our Ambetter Health 400 betting picks.
Odds to win 2023 Ambetter Health 400
|Driver||Odds to win|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+2,500|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||+3,000|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of March 14, 2023.
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Ambetter Health 400 field
Kyle Larson (+900) is atop the odds board, where he's spent a fair amount of time the past two seasons despite failing to recapture the dominance of his 2021 season. Larson is coming off back-to-back Top 4 finishes, but he's never won at Atlanta, and similar superspeedway tracks aren't exactly his forte.
Joining him as the first choice is William Byron (+900), who's going to be a popular bet this weekend. Not only is he this race's defending champ, he's won two Cup Series races in a row, and gets to chase the ultra-rare three-peat in a spot where he's sure to be peak confident.
Having the two favorites at the longer-than-usual price of +900 is indicative of the unpredictable nature of this superspeedway-esque track, as we see a fair bit of parity between the top tier of contenders.
Seven drivers are priced between +900 and +1,200, with Kyle Busch (+1,000) bridging the gap between the outright favorites and Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, and past Atlanta winners Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney (all +1,200).
Ambetter Health 400 picks and predictions
Ambetter Health 400 favorites
William Byron (+900)
Byron is going for the turkey this weekend. He’s won each of the last two weeks and did so in overtime finishes. It just so happens that Byron won last year’s spring race here after leading 111 laps in the process.
He hasn’t finished worse than second in any of the season’s last four stages either. Why not roll in his direction again? Hendrick Motorsports swept Atlanta last year, and with Chase Elliott out and Kyle Larson struggling on these types of tracks, Byron could pick up the baton and take it to his third victory of the 2023 season.
Ross Chastain (+1,200)
Kurt Busch won here in this car in 2021 while Chastain was runner-up in both Atlanta races in 2022. With Chevrolet being the preferred manufacturer here last season and Trackhouse being among the top teams in that camp, this is a no-brainer pick for Sunday’s race. Chastain also won on a drafting track at Talladega last spring too and is off to a great start to the 2023 season.
Ryan Blaney (+1,200)
Blaney made a statement last weekend at Phoenix. He had to. Kyle Petty called Blaney out heading into last weekend’s race, and while Blaney failed to lead a lap, he did finish second. Now, it’s to Atlanta, where he was fourth in 2020, won this race in 2021, and was fifth in the July race of 2021.
He was also 17th and fifth respectively in the pair of Atlanta races last year. Also, Blaney is as good as anyone now on superspeedways, so if this race runs like Daytona/Talladega again, you’ll be happy to snatch him up.
Ambetter Health 400 sleepers
Alex Bowman (+2,000)
While he was only 10th and 32nd, respectively, here last year, Bowman also nabbed a Top 5 in the season-opening Daytona 500, and with Hendrick winning both races in Atlanta last season, why not for these odds? He’s the current points leader on the efforts of being the only driver to have a Top-10 finish in all four races run this season.
Daniel Suarez (+2,500)
He was fourth and sixth, respectively, a year ago in Atlanta while also finishing in the Top 10 this past February at Daytona. He’s had a Top 10 in three of the first four weeks this season.
Justin Haley (+5,000)
11th and seventh were his pair of finishes last year. Five of Haley's eight career NASCAR wins have come on superspeedways. So, watch out here.
Ambetter Health 400 fades
Kyle Larson (+1,000)
Now that this race shifted to a speedway type of racing package, that negates Larson’s advantage. Larson has never won a superspeedway race and has just one Top 5 in 36 starts on them. He was 30th and 13th here last year.
Kyle Busch (+1,200)
While he was 33rd back in March of last year and 20th in the spring race. However, he's with RCR now. Reddick though was only 28th and 29th, respectively, here in this very car in 2022.
Joey Logano (+1,200)
His last six Atlanta starts have seen him finish 23rd, 10th, 15th, 19th, 9th, and 26th, respectively. His last three finishes on the season are 10th, 36th, and 11th.
Ambetter Health 400 prop pick
Chevrolet has won five of the six races, all consecutively, in this Next Gen era with this drafting package (Daytona, Talladega, Atlanta). The bowtie camp has also won all four races run this season and taken stage wins in seven of the eight stages as well.
Toyota hasn’t won here since 2014 and Chevy swept both races a year ago.
Pick: Top manufacturer — Chevrolet (+110 at DraftKings)
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Atlanta Motor Speedway track analysis
Sunday will mark the 118th race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Cup Series. This is one of the most historic tracks on the schedule with a lot of rich history. However, Atlanta was also a popular track on the schedule due to the aged surface.
See, when the track was reconfigured for 1997 and beyond, it was repaved — which was also the last time that the asphalt has been replaced. That made it the third-oldest surface in NASCAR trailing only Dover (1995) and Fontana (1996), but a repave and partial reconfiguration will once again make this race a brand new ball game. In fact, both races a year ago looked more like Daytona and Talladega than Atlanta of old.
I expect similar circumstances this time around too.
This is why I’d look more towards the Chevrolet and Ford camps for the victor, and not to look for much out of the Toyota camp. The Toyota drivers have won just twice in the Peachtree state and have failed to reach victory lane there since 2014. They're also two for the last 17 in Talladega, and one for the last eight at Daytona.
The only difference this year compared to last is the fact that the spring race this weekend is the same distance as the summer race was last year. Instead of a long 500-mile event, it’s been shortened to 400 miles. That extra 100 miles can make a difference. The other difference is that with 100 fewer miles and a race not as hot as the summer one was, these cars can race closer due to the addition of more grip in the track with cooler ambient conditions.
Ambetter Health 400 trends
- Hendrick Motorsports swept both races last year.
- The eventual race winner won three of the four stages here a year ago.